Sapa and Halong Bay
Trip Start Apr 05, 2006
23Trip End Ongoing
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Check back again for more photos and a better description. Time for me to go walk around Vientane (it's now nearly 4pm!).
I left Vietnam earlier today and am now in Vientiane, Laos. I am totally tired from being on the go for the past week. It's been great, but Vietnam was exahusting.
Sapa was great and my Handspan trip up to the northern mountains of Vietnam was amazing. I paid a bit more for this trip, but we got out to some of the more remote hilltribe villages that have not seen as many tourists. An Aussie couple (Simon and Allison) and a Aussie family (mom Jo was from Belguim, dad Brian was from the UK, and the kids Sam-9years old- and Charlotte-6 years old-). It was very special to be up in such remote land (near the Chinese and Laos boarders). Having Sam and Charlotte with us was great as well, as the local people were as facinated by seeing "our" children, as we were with seeing them. We walked for a few hours between the Black Dzao and Flower H'mong people. The next few days were spent interacting with hill tribe people (especially the Blang H'mong) who live closer to Sapa. Tourism has definitely taken over and most of the children spoke English, and all the women and kids followed along with us and tried to sell us their handstiched crafts. Our group was in two minds about visiting the tribe people, as just our presence changes them. But it was still wonderful.
The most amazing Vietnamese food I had was up in the mountains! Thanh (Tang), our tour guide was amazing--he has a special energy and is so great in interacting with the kids and the local people! A guide can make or break a trip, and he helped make it absolutely special
I will write more about the trip later, and some of the interesting things about the area!
I did the one day trip to Halong Bay yesterday (april 19). It was exhausting as I'd arrived on the overnight sleeper from Sapa at 5:15am and hopped on a bus at 8am for a 3 1/2 hour ride to Halong Bay, and 4 hour tour, and back on the bus. You definitely get what you pay for...and my trip was okay, but not great. After dealing with some visa dramas upon my return to Hanoi, I met up with an ex-pat American named Brett and her friend. It was great to have a few drinks with some locals! I was a bit tired today getting up at 6am for my flight to Laos. I will write more with a better update when I'm not so brain dead!
I need to sort out my plans for the second half of my trip!